Has Yemen Times Changed? Of Course, It Has ! [Archives:1997/51/Viewpoint]

December 22 1997

Many friends have been calling in and writing to say that they have noticed a change in the critical position of the Yemen Times vis-a-vis the state. Some of them say that since I have joined the Consultative Council, I have softened up on the regime. Some have concluded I have been co-opted. I am writing to answer those and other allegations at the suggestion of a colleague from London.
1. Changed? Yes: Yes, the Yemen Times has changed a lot. The basic premise here is that change is a normal part of life, and those who do not change get fossilized. When you interact with such a dynamic process like politics, change is inevitable. So, if some friends want the Yemen Times to remain stagnant and fossilized, I say I am sorry. It is not in the books.
2. Softened Up? Yes. Yes, the Yemen Times has softened up on the regime. The basic premise here is that the opposition parties which take “holier than thou” positions are more rotten than the ruling clique. I want to point out that people like Ali Abdullah Saleh and Abdul-Kareem Al-Iryani, just to name two, work a lot harder and longer hours than any opposition politician I know. If anything, at least for that, they have earned some respect. Moreover, change is taking place, albeit at a much slower pace than I would have loved. But THERE IS CHANGE AND THERE IS IMPROVEMENT. Needless to say there continue to be mistakes; and Yemen Times is pointing to them with the purpose of correcting them. A quick reference to the last 10 issues of Yemen Times, as examples, will show that there have been many articles critical of the system’s shortcomings.
3. Co-opted? NO: Those who claim the Yemen Times is co-opted are either stupid or simply carry a grudge. The paper is INDEPENDENT. Some opposition politicians want the Yemen Times to attack the regime all the time and on every issue. That we will not do. We are not out to get the regime or to seek replacement of those in power. It is this stand that differentiates the Yemen Times from opposition papers. Opposition newspapers, being mouthpieces of their patrons, seek to replace those in power with the people who sponsor them, by discrediting the rulers in the eyes of the public. This is called politics. But, Yemen Times is not part of it. To the contrary, Yemen Times will give credit to those in power when they do their work well. And it is because we give such credit that opposition politicians and newspapers say that we have been co-opted. NONSENSE!
IN A NUT-SHELL To put the position of the Yemen Times in a nut-shell, I want to state that we do not care who rules Yemen, provided two things: a) That those who rule have come to power through legal and constitutional means; b) That those who rule do a good job in governing this country and in serving the immediate and long-term interests of the Yemeni people. Honestly speaking, I do not see among the opposition political leaders of today any individual who can be termed as possessing leadership qualities.
By: Pro. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf Editor-in-Chief and Publisher